Thursday, August 28, 2008


I don't know about you, but I've noticed a disturbing trend. It seems that gay bashing jokes are making a big run in entertainment today. 

Now I'm not gay, but I can't help but be offended. Maybe it's that whole "white people getting offended for other people" thing, and true I don't know how many homosexuals respond to it, but I personally have had enough. I recently saw Tropic Thunder, perhaps against my better judgement, and was shocked at how a gay joke was a huge punch-line for one of the characters. I also saw the Comedy Central roast of Bob Sagat, again, against my better judgement, and 75% of the material was along the lines of "Dude, Bob Sagat you are so gaaaaaay." Ha ha, right? You're laughing aren't you? Oh wait, you're not because it's not funny at all. 

I saw two clips of a new animated show coming out on HBO, and guess what? Gay jokes and stereotypes. Part of me wonders if the people involved in the comedy think that since gay rights are gaining that perhaps it's "edgy" or even "ironic" to do gay jokes, or maybe it's worse than that, that there's just some vague excuse for masking easy, discriminatory laughs. But I must confess, I am probably guilty of it too. I have what some people have described as a "gay voice," a little character voice, you know, but I like to think that it has evolved into just an eccentric voice, not a caricature of a people. For that, I ask forgiveness.  

Now I don't get offended easily. (Sure, my feelings get hurt, but that's different from offense, you know?) Anyway, I don't get offended too easily. I try to have a sense of humor about myself and even my faith, because I believe that there's room for that and it's healthy. And of course, any community has to have a sense of humor about itself or it won't last too long. If I'm wrong, please stop me, but what I'm saying is that I think that people can hold themselves to a higher standard then a series of homophobe jokes. We can hold ourselves, and as consumers, we should hold the entertainers and comedians and producers to a higher standard as well. That's my opinion. I'm open for what you have to say. 

Monday, August 18, 2008

Analyze my writing of your analysis of their writing of an analytical work...

Writing is awfully complicated. 

I just watched Barton Fink today, and I thought how interesting it was that I could relate to the main character, in all of his self inflated reasoning and passion to change the world. Being a "creative" writer can be difficult, as Barton expressed, because it isn't always... respected(?) I don't know where that's going, so we'll wander a different direction. 

It's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I wonder if creative writing, if fiction is somehow less valid than other forms of the written word. Have you ever met someone who has said, "I don't read fiction"? I sure have. Fiction can have a stigma of just being stories someone made up. No big deal. 

Sometimes I see people so invested in other writing, non-fiction, analysis, anything of anything, and I think about how complex and wonderful it is. I find myself jealous! I suddenly want to write more essays with as many big words as I can think of! I want to just think instead of manifest characters or plots. I wonder if the analysis of a story is more important then the story itself. I believe that I am coming to a fascinating point of thought in this arena. 

The creators and the analysts need each other. It's a beautiful partnership! Would we have The Waste Land if we didn't have people talking the crap out of it? Would I still be reading Frankenstein in class if people hadn't written tomes about its themes? I love it! I love being on the side that I'm on! I love analysis, I find it fulfilling, but I love creation. But perhaps even more than I love sitting at a desk and thinking up the craziest crap I can, perhaps even more than I love talking about how The Road just messed me up inside, I love the dialogue between the two. I love the ever evolving realizations. 

Good works still speak. Good books last because there is so much for us to get out of them. Good stories, good analysis stay with us in our heads and our conversation because they sharpen our senses and our observations. So many books still speak because people find things that even the authors didn't notice or necessarily intend. Discussion allows works to evolve, and works are the fuel for discussion and I love it so freaking much. 

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Because shoehorning things into lists makes thinking so much easier...

As lists go, "Top Tens" always anger someone. "How could you forget (insert whatever)?" "What on earth do you mean (blank) is better than (blank)?"

So in the spirit of easy categorization and quirky things that linger in my mind, I present for your approval and disapproval: "Kyle Reardon's Top Ten Favorite Album Openers." Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I present for your discussion, my favorite "track number one's" around. So far. These things are always evolving and changing, meaning that in the end they can be viewed as little time capsules of thought, or completely and totally worthless. 

Let's start at number ten (even though I don't think I'll really be counting them down in any real order aside from perhaps the number one!) 

"U.R.A. Fever" from Midnight Boom — The Kills
I'm a sucker for sound effects before tracks, but let's be honest, they can get blown out of proportion, but lucky for you and me, U.R.A. Fever's dial tone is a seductive intro into the heavy bass and drawling lyrics. 

"Concrete Bed" from The Weight is a Gift — Nada Surf
A single note that jumps into an energetic rhythm gifted with poignant lyrics: "To find someone you love, you got to be someone you love." Makes sense to me. "Like yourself!" they say over a rushing melody. I'll do my best, Nada Surf, I'll do my best!

"Concerning the UFO Sighting near Highland, Illinois" from Feel the Illinoise! — Sufjan Stevens
I can't get over Sufjan Stevens. This song, however, might be his best intro into any of his albums. The melancholy flavor peppered with hopeful note progressions not only makes for a beautiful track, but also gives a hint toward the fascinating concoction of tones throughout the album. 

"When The Lights Go Out" from Rubber Factory — The Black Keys
No song— I repeat no song puts me in a different place as quickly and effortlessly as this one. I get flung into some kind of romanticized alternate American South, one that works hard on being dirty. Shoot, son, I love it. 

"Sentimental Heart" from Volume One — She & Him
I'll admit, I was excited but nervous that one of my favorite musicians, M. Ward, had teamed up with one of my favorite actresses, Zooey Deschanel. Could it be as good as I hope and pray it to be? Thirty seconds into Sentimental Heart and I realize that it's better, better than what I had dared to hope for. 

"Plead the Fifth" from Five Score and Seven Years Ago — Relient K
Say what you will about the bubble gum pop that is my favorite band from High School! But know this: a great opening track has to get you excited to listen to the rest of the album, and that first humming note joined by that thumping bass pedal... you don't want to stop listening. 

"Things that Scare Me" from Blacklisted — Neko Case
This song is an attention getter. You almost have to stop and say to yourself: "What? What's that? And more importantly, what's next?"

"Gobbledigook" from It's Icelandic, I'm not even going to try. — Sigur Ros
This song feels like coming out of a dark cave, an introduction into running through whatever wonderful images play through your head for the rest of the album. 

"Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car" from The Shepherd's Dog — Iron & Wine
People have a tendency to say the same thing about every Iron & Wine album. "Well It's not The Creek Drank the Cradle." You know what? Shut up. This first track seems to say, "Look how exciting this evolving sound is. Won't you stick around?" How could I not?

"Marching Bands of Manhattan" from Plans — Death Cab for Cutie
Sorry, Haters. Say what you will, Death Cab has a pretty solid run of first tracks. Plans isn't even my favorite of their albums, but I don't think any of their first tracks said what this one did. With a rather strong following after the melancholy Transatlanticism, Plans scarred a few die hards and brought in a whole new crop of radio fans. In my opinion, "Marching Bands of Manhattan" was a beautiful announcement. It begins with a touch of that familiar sound from previous albums, but builds and builds into a hopeful parade of hoping progressions and simple, clear hope. 

Well, love it or hate it, this is kind of how I think this list looks for me, as of this single moment in history. I even changed it as I was writing it. I suppose it will never be finished, as long as albums keep coming out, but isn't that part of the fun in life? Evolving opinions show that we're willing to listen to new ideas, not that we're weak minded. In other words, you should change your opinions to adhere to mine. 


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Of Christ and Kermit

The whole DC day by day thing lost a little steam. But here's something and a little something more!

The other day the little bros. and myself were wandering from art gallery to art gallery when something caught my eye: An exhibit on Jim Henson! Someone had taken some of the most important pieces of my elementary development and put them in a museum! Such pure, untainted joy ran through my body!

We ran downstairs, and there he was, in his photograph free glass case: Kermit the Frog, sitting there, happy to see me. Around the corner sat Rolf, the piano playing dog, kiddy corner to him sat Bert and Ernie. I couldn't believe it! I was so happy to see these hollow, felt creations that just sat there, lifeless. But I knew how animated they could be. I knew how entertaining Sesame Street and The Muppet Show were to me as a kid. It meant something! I had to think, walking around with my little brothers. They had never watched Sesame Street 
(WHAT?!). They had never seen The Muppet Show right before they had to go to bed, the last program before Nick at Night. In twenty years, will Hannah Montana's wig be in the Smithsonian? Will there be an exhibit on Pokemon? I hope not, but at the same time, that's selfish. Their history should be preserved to, no matter how much it might annoy me. 

Then I started thinking about Jesus! (Hang tight. I don't really have a transition, but... I want to talk about it and it's my blog, so...) I had gone to my family's new church the Sunday before and had enjoyed the quaint service very much. The sermon, however, was a somewhat shallow fluff piece about giving yourself to Christ without much substance as to why outside of 'you'll be happy' (True, but it means so much more! It's so personal, so interesting, so adventurous!) It was peppered with a Southern style flair that was very enjoyable and blended with an extended sports analogy, but it got me thinking about something totally different, something I would like to call, 'The Greeting Card Jesus.'

The only Jesus that I could imagine while he was talking was the blank faced, white skinned, wavy haired, blue sashed Jesus. Is there anything wrong with this image? Not necessarily, besides the fact that Jesus was a Jewish Rabbi, and was probably rather short and definitely not white, but I'm not going to complain about aesthetics. What I realized, though, is that there is obviously a Jesus product these days. I'm not talking about "The Man" and making money, though no doubt there's that element, what I mean is that I am rather tired of my Lord being something I by at a bookstore. I wanted the real Jesus, not one that had been morphed into a comfortable image. I wanted to see the real Jesus, who has a sense of humor, who got angry, who loved with sincerity and probably gave the best hugs in the history of the world. 

I wanted the substance. I wanted the cake, not just the frosting. I want the real Jesus who loves without ceasing, who always has the time to listen to anything and everything you have to say, who challenges you to love everyone, who asks you to forgive everyone because he's perfected the art. I've decided to look for Him with all I can. 

On a side note, sometimes when I try to imagine a modern day Jesus, he's always wearing a leather jacket (though probably faux leather. He's not too down with the whole 'killing for fashion' thing). It's funny, and you know what? I'll put a lot of money on the table that says he thinks it's funny too. 

I'm going to leave this one up for a while, so I'll see you guys later.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

D.C./Virginia Day 6

Arlington National Cemetery today. JFK, Jackie O, President Taft, and countless veterans. I'll admit, I think I wander of the path of legality and snuck over to a tombstone or two and stole some grave rubbings. Crayons and newsprint has never made me feel so rebellious. I hear it's a gateway crime to grave robbing. Let's hope it doesn't come to that. 

Since it is tremendously difficult to talk in depth about a graveyard without wandering into the realms of morbidity or perhaps unwanted reverence (these past posts have been full of that anyway), I thought I'd take today to give some details on how life is lived here on the East Coast. Take for example, my family's new home. 
When furnishin
g the house (that belongs to The Salvation Army) my mother asked me what kind of linens I wanted in the room that would serve as my bedroom/the guest room. I replied: "I want it to be as east coast as possible." I think that we accomplished that aesthetic. Note the navy blue trim to the bedding, complimented by the deep cherry color of the nightstand. Underneath the bed is where I keep my yacht, all of my pastel sweaters are folded neatly in the drawers there. The horse (a kentucky thoroughbred named "Ol' Blue Glory") is tied of to the lamp there, getting rested up for my next polo match. Here in this 
mirror is where I make sure that my hair is perfectly parted before I jump into the golf cart to spend the day with various moguls of various trades. The closet reflected there is where I keep all the oars for our crew team at the university, next to my fencing foils. I only wear Eddie Bauer now. On a realistic note, above is a picture of a rather common-looking hose in this area. Affluent, yes, but the point that I was really trying to make is that brick is commonplace in almost every building. Every home almost has at least one brick wall, not because they are old houses, not because they are meant to be "colonial" (well maybe, I don't know) but really, it's just how it's done. Almost as if you suggesting not using brick you'd be laughed at.

And then the building crew would throw one of their bricks at you. Goodnight, I love you very much. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

D.C./Virginia Day 5

What do you say to that? I memorized the Preamble when I was in fifth grade. Those were really the only words that came to mind as my little brothers and I stepped from document to document, drinking in the most important pieces of parchment for our Country. HOLY CRAP, RIGHT?

I felt kind of apathetic, while I was there. I wasn't sure why. Was I just like an eight grader, dragged here out of obligation? Or did I really care? I refused to believe that it meant nothing to me. I think I figured it out. I think it was all the people around. Now I know that it belongs to all of us, that we all claim it for who we are, but I kind of wanted... like... alone time with it. Just me and the Constitution. You know, a more romantic setting for the Declaration of Independence and me. I just wanted quiet, I guess... and candles. 

Next was our man Lincoln. So regal! So brilliant! It was terribly fascinating to stand there, not only for Lincoln, to reflect on what he stood for, reflect on what he had done, but also for what has happened at that spot specifically. Remember Martin Luther King Jr.? So many people stood for so much in that little area. I could only imagine what it was like! Would I be brave enough to march? Would I care enough? 

Joke time! How many amendments does it take to end slavery? Thirteen! HAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, sometimes facts just aren't funny. I'll be totally honest with you, I'm just trying to fill the space to the end of this photo. 

Blah blah
History is neat
Yadda yadda yadda.

I guess this is where things get heavy. I didn't have any relatives or ancestors in Vietnam, at least not to my knowledge, but this was a very important visit for me. All those names, right in your face. People with families, histories, ambitions, goals, girlfriends, sweethearts, terrible crushes that would never work out, kids, honor, self sacrifice, all of it. Try to leave all the politics out and what are you left with? Respect. Ditto for the Korean War memorial. 
Let's end this one on a high note. Here is a photo of SpongeBob SquarePants. Well, okay, if he had been turned into a frozen treat of summer joy, had his eye balls removed and replaced with gum drops, and seemed to be filled with a terrible, awful, paralyzing fear of everything. 
Goodnight! Arlington Cemetery tomorrow!

Monday, August 4, 2008

D.C./Virginia Day 4

In Transit
Originally uploaded by kyle_reardon
Well I'm having a bit of trouble uploading photos right now, sos we're going to have to stick with just this one photo. I guarantee there will be some more photos soon! And good ones, dear reader, good ones.

Well the ghost tour was postponed until next week, but that's okay, today was a big day. I woke up early and dropped my parents off at the airport— they're in Florida right now for a big Salvation Army youth event. Then I went home, took a minute to pray, and then wandered upstairs to begin my week with the little bros (bro's?). It was awfully exciting, I couldn't wait for the nine o'clock reduced metro fare to start. (See picture) 

Wes, David, and myself boarded the train and rolled down the track- past The Pentagon, through Arlington Cemetery, then finally... THE SMITHSONIAN. Today we crammed in three of the Smithsonian's.. smithians... smithikers... we went to three different museums. 

           Museum the first! The National Museum of Natural History. First, we wandered through the blacked bones of ancient beasts! Stood in awe of the monsters towering above us, their teeth turned to deadly stones, hungry for the flesh of innocents! Be they mere skeletons, true, but no less terrifying! Then we saw some rocks and stuff. The Hope Diamond was interesting, but I really dug the earrings worn by Marie Antoinette.

We then trudged through the heat across the Mall and peeked into "The Castle," the main information center for all the Smithsonians et. all. And guess who was there just to the left of the door to greet us! It was the remains of Smithson himself. Pretty wild, seeing his bathtub grave sitting on a pedestal right there. "Hey guys, you enjoying my museums? Yeah, it's cool, I'm just gonna chill out here. I'll see you later."

Then we blasted off to the National Air and Space Museum. Ha! Blasted off! Get it? Rocket ships and stuff! But do you know what they have there? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he original Flyer, the first successful flying machine, designed by those kooky Wright Brothers. 

That's the thing about these museums. I almost don't believe any of it! I've lived so much of my life at Disneyland and Universal Studios, where everything was made to look like all the amazing things I was inches away from. Very few replicas, this is the Smithsonian, for history's sake, it's all real, all right there. Yes, that's the real Spirit of St. Louis. Yes, that's the Apollo 11 pod thing— it was in space, it burned through our atmosphere and landed in the ocean. Why would we put up a fake one?

Wild, all of it. Well tomorrow's the National Archives— expect some stuff about liberty or whatever. PS— what do you recommend, reader? Have you been to D.C. before? Is there something I absolutely should not miss? Let me know! 


Hold on, I'm fixing everything for the better

D.C./Virginia Day 3

Not much, ask me about it in person.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

D.C./Virginia Day 2

Welcome to Mount Vernon, the estate of President George Washington.
Now I'm a real sucker for history. I almost majored in it, but memorizing those dates... well I just couldn't pull it off. That hasn't deterred my passion for it, though! This is one of the reasons I was so excited to spend the afternoon with my mother here. The house is only about ten minutes down the road, so I can't really express my surprise at how such an amazing, important place could be so close. Let's get to the good stuff, eh?
The house was beautiful, through and through. I have pictures a plenty, and I'll show you all of them when I get back (ask about the turkey cloud) but these three will have to tide you over for now. We walked into the dining room where Washington was informed he was going to be the first president, passed by his bedroom, and gazed upon the very bed he died in. Morbid? Perhaps. Muting in its simple elegance and importance? Most definitely. I was speechless. The idea, the very implication of the men that stood in that house— the very fathers of our nation that walked across the same floors that I was walking across, looking into the original mirrors and knowing that some of the most amazing people in history looked back through that glass was... well, numbing in its beauty. 
My mother and the Potomac. The first picture is the back of the house, where Mommy Dearest and I were standing in this picture. Apparently Ol' Man Washington loved landscapes, farming, and pictures of water. Imagine living with the Potomac at your fingertips. Below is a picture of part of the farm. The original property stretches for miles and miles, whole neighborhoods have been built on sections of it, causing residents to say that they "live on the farm." This was actually on the path to the Tomb of Washington himself. There it sits, behind steel bars, above ground. His white stone coffin, above ground with Martha (his wife) lain at a somewhat obscure angle to the left. Behind is a very small gate to the rest of the tomb which holds upwards of twenty-five family members. 
I had an interesting conversation with my father on the way home from the X-Files movie about how this all made me feel. Ever since I was a little kid I thought it was kind of tacky, perhaps "old man-ish" to say that I was "patriotic". Growing into an adult at the crest of the Iraq War only made me more reluctant to adopt the term (don't take my zeal in this paragraph as my approval of everything we are and do, that's not the case I'm making). But now, after just a brief wandering through our nation's nest and with so much more to some, I settled on a term. I like to consider myself a "patriot". Not in the Mel Gibson sense, I'm not thrusting Ol' Glory through the neck of a rather malicious British officer, but there is an elegance to the term that I think is lost in the word "patriotic". Blah, blah, they're the same, but really: which would you rather have describe you? I love our country. Do we have blotches in our history? Absolutely. Are we "da best country in da WORLD!!!!111!!! LOLOMG!!!" No, I'm sure there's probably better, but you know what? I am an American, I can claim this history as mine. The flaws, sure, we're learning. But the heroes: all mine as well. Go ahead, you can have them too.

Well that does it for day two. A tour of haunted Alexandria tomorrow, and then Monday brings the start of D.C. on foot. 

Friday, August 1, 2008

D.C./Virginia Day 1

Welcome to my little vacation journal! So it's day one here with my family out in Virginia... but let's start from the beginning. 

My flight over was especially interesting. I occupied myself for the majority of the trip, but when the flight was in its last hour or so, I cracked open the window. I looked out and felt a rather exhilarating rush of wonder. This will perhaps sound juvenile, but in all honesty, I don't think I've ever flown so high in the air. It looked as thought I was not only catching a glimpse of the horizon, but I could cup my hands around it and slide my hands over the edges of the earth. 

I arrived and was picked up by my Dad, a welcomed sight to behold! I began to tour around my family's new town, Alexandria, Virginia. I was shocked to see how correct my assumptions were about what the East Coast looked liked. Trees, trees, trees, but the kind that turn a golden amber in the fall, generous space between each trunk on the ground. Black paved roads that looked as thought they had been smoothed out on the ground with a butter knife. Every building made of brick. Rows of town houses were lined up across the neighborhoods, narrow, tight homes that carried a catalogue-quality elegance to them. 

I arrived home and enjoyed a wonderful lasagna (my favorite) prepared by dear old Mom, hung out with my little brothers, then fell asleep in a chair. We decided to go on a cursory tour of the nations' capitol, so we grabbed our shoes, my camera, and a sense of adventure! I'll admit, we weren't too adventurous, we have a little GPS thing in the car. But here are some of my favorite pictures of D.C. at dusk from a moving car. 

Here we have the Washington Monument. Note the flashing red eyes ther
e at the top— it seems you've made it rather mad.

A side of the Lincoln Memorial. Don't worry, I'll have a much better picture of the great emancipator's mug up here soon enough!
Here's my favorite picture of the night: it's that one street you always see those caravans of secret agent jeeps or whatever drive down in all of those gripping political thrillers. Plus, this one's in focus!

Well so ends day one. Even now the cicadas are chirping their hearts out right outside the windows. True, it's only about eight o'clock back home in Seattle, but it's eleven here and I'm tired. Hopefully I'll be going on the Alexandria, VA ghost walk tomorrow, so color me excited! 

You know what? I'm tired, and I'm gong to take advantage of this lack of jet lag to deal with and hit the hay. OMG I LUV U ALL PLZ COMMENT! No but seriously, stay cool, cats. 

Kyle out.